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Withdean's Greatest XI Vote - Centre Back

With the end in sight for Brighton and Hove Albion's time at Withdean Stadium, we've decided to put together a poll for the Greatest XI to pull on the stripes during our 12 year stay - with this weeks vote being for the two centre back slots.

Down the Withdean years, the Albion have had some superb centre backs.

Three promotions under three defensive-minded managers were built on impeccably strong partnerships there as is shown by the fact that the position has yielded six player of the season awards so far in the ten seasons we've completed.

It has been a bloody hard task to create this shortlist, but we've nonetheless done it. Twelve players and with two positions up for grabs it means you can vote for your best two - which is going to be a tough task in itself!

Please remember you can vote for the TWO centre backs you thought were the best to play for the club at Withdean.

Andy Crosby 1999-2002, 73 appearances, 5 goals
Andy Crosby was one of Micky Adams' most dependable signings as Albion manager. He arrived in time for the first season at Withdean from Chester for a bargain 10,000 and was a regular for the remainder of the year. The following season he played a key role alongside Danny Cullip at centre back as the Seagulls took Division Three by storm, including scoring a vital goal with the unorthodox use of his ear at home to Blackpool. With Simon Morgan's arrival, he was deemed surplus to requirements and moved on to Oxford before joining Scunthorpe. Always guaranteed a warm reception on his return to the Albion, he was a rock at the back.
Danny Cullip 1999-2005, 2008-2010, 134 appearances, 13 goals
Arriving from Brentford initially on-loan in 1999, Cullip became an instant hero with the Withdean faithful. He won the player-of-the-season award in his first season and again in 2002-2003 and captained the side to victory in the 2004 play-off final against Bristol City. A classy defender with a never-say-die attitude, he wasn't afraid to hand out tellings off to his team mates either, with one particularly memorable Withdean exchange involving him screaming at Robbie Pethick "you f**king ugly b**tard" loud enough so the entire South Stand could hear. The definition of a club legend, Cullip was sold to Sheffield United for 250,000 in December 2004.
Adam Virgo 1999-2005, 2008-2010, 134 appearances, 13 goals
Virgo makes his second entry into the polls at centre back which was his original position and where he spent a large part of his second spell at the club. His first few appearances in 2000 and 2001 came at the heart of the defence, and he also filtered between there and up front in 2004-05 in the year he added his name to the list of central defenders to have won player-of-the-season before his big money move to Celtic. Both Russell Slade and Gus Poyet had had enough of the pratting about regarding his position and used him in his natural position, and some of his best performances came there as the Albion battled their way to safety under Slade in 2009.
Simon Morgan 2001-2002, 42 appearances, 1 goal
Joining the Albion in the twilight of his career, Simon Morgan only lasted one season before retiring but his impact was a profound one. With Micky Adams judging that he needed more experience in his team for their return to the third tier, he turned to his former Fulham colleague. The 35-year-old justified the managers faith by missing only a handful of games all season when a fixture backlog meant he was carefully managed by Peter Taylor to get him through to the end of the year, which culminated in a second successive title. Morgan played a huge part with his calming experience at the back and he was sorely missed after retirement.
Adam Hinshelwood 2002-2009, 100 appearances, 2 goals
When Hinshelwood made his debut at just 17 away at Burnley on the opening day of the 2002-03 season, eyebrows were raised and rumours of favouritism from manager and uncle Martin spread like wildfire. They were quickly quashed though as he put in a solid display and would go onto do so for the next three years, culminating in an England under-21 call up. Unfortunately, a serious knee injury sustained against Reading ruined that and effectively cut short his career. It is scary to think how good Hinshelwood could have become given he was the stand out player in the Albion line-up until injury and he unfortunately never recovered his best.
Guy Butters 2002-2008, 187 appearances, 8 goals
Guy Butters didn't get off to the best of starts when he arrived at Withdean from Gillingham in 2002. Horrendously overweight and unfit, he found himself out of the line-up as soon as Steve Coppell arrived two months after he signed, which eventually lead to some cheeky fans advertising him on eBay. Butters knuckled down though and his reward was regaining his first team spot in 2003 and ending the successful play-off campaign as another defender winning player-of-the-season. He scored some memorable goals including the winner at West Ham in 2004, and was a mainstay of the defence until age caught up with him and he was released in 2008.
Dean Blackwell 2002-2003, 21 appearances, 2 goals
Having lost eleven games in a row, new Albion boss Steve Coppell knew he needed to do something, and his first signing for the club was ex-Wimbledon defender Dean Blackwell. Unfortunately, his debut didn't go quite according to plan as it was that infamous 5-0 defeat at Selhurst Park. Blackwell soon settled in though and became a regular in the side that came so close to pulling off a remarkable escape from relegation in 2002-03, and it was the arrival of both him and Simon Rodger that really turned the Seagulls fortunes around that season. A serious injury sustained in the pre-season schedule of 2003-04 ultimately led to his retirement.
Ivar Ingimarrson 2002, 15 appearances, 0 goals
Another one of Steve Coppell's quality loan signings, the Icelandic international arrived in February 2002 from Wolves. He instantly slotted into the back line bringing a composure and ability on the ball that had been sorely lacking all season as well as the ability to read the game that was unrivalled among his team mates. It was obvious to anyone who saw him play for the Albion that he would go onto be a Premier League player, and perhaps one of the most disappointing things about the Seagull's relegation from Division One that year was that had they have stayed up, Ingimarrson could have become a permanent resident at Withdean.
Adam El-Abd 2003-, 298 appearances, 5 goals
A graduate of the youth team, El-Abd took his time to settle into the side. Although a centre back by trade, he regularly appeared at right back, left back and even central midfield in his early days at the club having made his debut at 18 away at Notts County. A player who was known to make one goal costing cock up every ten or so games, his transformation since Gus Poyet's arrival in Janaury 2010 has been sensational. Now one of the most important players in the side, his confidence on the ball and his ability to read and react to a situation means that he is well inline to become defender seven to win player-of-the-year in the Withdean era.
Paul McShane 2005-2006, 38 appearances, 4 goals
Paul McShane remains the only loan player in the history of the Albion to be crowned player-of-the-season when he won the award for an outstanding year in 2005-06. Joining days before the new season begun from Manchester United, the youngster become an instant crowd favourite and his popularity among Seagulls supporters was guaranteed for eternity when he netted the only goal in the 1-0 win over Palace at Selhurst Park in October 2005. In a season that was full of lows, he was the one positive to come out of it and his form was recognised with an international call up for the Republic of Ireland and ultimately a move to regular Premier League football.
Tommy Elphick 2005-, 141 appearances, 7 goals
Elphick made his debut as an 18-year-old susbstitute in the 5-1 defeat at Reading in December 2005, but he had to wait a whole two years to establish himself as a first team regular. He finally made the breakthrough in the 2007-2008 season under Dean Wilkins, and such was his impact on the side that he claimed the player-of-the-season crown that year in his first full season in the side. He continued to be a rock at the back for the next two seasons and although his no-nonsense approach to defending is popular with the supporters it hasn't found favour with Gus Poyet which has resulted in Elphick spending a large part of the current season on the sidelines.
Gordon Greer 2010-, 25 appearances, 0 goals
Arriving from Swindon last summer for 250,000, Gordon Greer was instantly made club captain although he didn't start his Albion career in the best of fashions, being sent off on his debut against Rochdale. Injuries and his wife giving birth meant he had to wait until October to secure his place in the first team but since then he hasn't looked back and has shown signs of just why Gus Poyet forked out so much for him. A classy defender as well as one who is fantastic on the ball, his defence splitting passes from the back have become a trademark in recent weeks and he is a big big reason as to why the Albion's flicky flicky football is so successful.

 

The poll closes at 3.30pm on Tuesday 5th April 2011. Let us know who you are voting for and why

 

 

 


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